Two of the main teeth straightening solutions that our Boston Dentists offer, are Invisalign and Braces, both of which are designed to make small alterations to your teeth in order to eventually move them into their proper positioning. When you are considering all of your options for straightening your teeth, having a thorough understanding of the differences between Invisalign and Braces should help you in making an informed decision about which option is best for you and your situation.
How Braces Work
Traditional braces are comprised of metal brackets that are placed on the front of your teeth and are tied together by small rubber bands and wires. They are not removable during the course of treatment and are designed to be highly effective at closing gaps in teeth and fixing some of the more common orthodontic issues, whether the problems are minor or severe. Given that braces are kept on permanently, more maintenance is required in order to keep your teeth clean.
Over time, the wires on your teeth will be tightened as they move in order to facilitate more movements. The wire as well as the bands attached to your braces will occasionally be replaced. While most of the brackets used with braces come in a standard metal color of silvery-gray, it’s possible to select brackets that more closely resemble the color of your enamel, allowing them to more effectively blend into your teeth. Different colors can also be selected if you wish to bring out your personality with your braces.
There are a wide range of benefits associated with braces, the primary of which is the fact that this treatment solution is designed to be able to treat some of the more complex orthodontic issues that occur, providing you with the means of straightening your teeth even when they are very crooked or have large gaps between them. Your orthodontist will more readily be able to help you identify which straightening solution is right for you depending on the extend of the issue that needs to be treated.
Since braces are “glued” to your teeth permanently until your teeth have been moved to the right position, you won’t feel tempted to keep them out of your mouth, which could adversely affect your treatment. Given the fact that braces are designed to move your teeth relatively quickly, it’s possible for the treatment time to be short, allowing you to move onto the next phases of treatment.
How Invisalign Works
Invisalign is one of the more modern teeth straightening solutions available for you to consider. Along with the basic goals of straightening your teeth and improving your smile, Invisalign is a unique application that makes use of two rows of plastic aligners to move your teeth in small increments. These plastic aligners are made in such a way that you can remove them whenever you want, although it’s important to only do so when brushing your teeth and eating as keeping them out for too long can have a negative effect on the straightening process. The aligner trays used with this teeth straightening solution consist of smooth plastic and are designed to be placed directly over your teeth on both the bottom and upper rows. One of the distinct advantages of Invisalign is that the aligner trays are clear, making them practically invisible when you are wearing them during the course of treatment.
Given the fact that aligner trays are fashioned in such a way as to provide small movements to your teeth, they are designed primarily to be used for small issues, such as a minor underbite or overbite. However, due to the small movements made with these aligners, your teeth should be practically pain free as you progress through your treatment. In order to provide you with aligners that precisely fit your teeth, one of our orthodontists or specialists will take pictures, x-rays, and a variety of impressions of your teeth in order to ensure that the three-dimensional aligner trays perfectly match the shape of your teeth. These aligner trays are designed to be used for two week periods and then replaced with different trays. Each tray will move your teeth a small amount towards the position you want them to be.
Among the many benefits associated with Invisalign is the fact that there are no issues with food getting stuck within the aligners, as they can be removed when eating. To make sure that your teeth remain clean and healthy as you wear these aligners, you will want to brush after eating in order to keep staining and similar issues at bay. Although guidelines can differ somewhat depending on the exact orthodontist that you visit, it is recommended that you keep your aligners in your mouth for at least 22 hours each day, which is enough time to ensure that your teeth don’t start moving back to their old position. It’s important to understand that Invisalign isn’t for everyone, which is why you should consider setting up an appointment with our Boston Dentists so that we can help you identify the treatment solution that’s right for you.
Braces and Invisalign Maintenance and Follow-Up Treatment Comparison
One of the most important things to consider when you are attempting to decide between braces and Invisalign is how much maintenance is involved during the process and how often follow-up treatments are necessary. When you decide to wear braces, you will need to brush and floss regularly, at least two times every day. The brackets and wires should be paid close attention to, as it’s common for small food particles to get stuck in these wires, which can have a damaging effect on your teeth if you don’t brush them properly. You should also consider using mouthwash on a regular basis in order to aid the other oral healthcare solutions that you are using.
As for Invisalign maintenance, you could select an Invisalign cleaning system that will help make the maintenance of the aligners more convenient and quicker. Along with brushing and flossing on a regular basis, you will also need to brush and rinse the aligner trays in tepid water, which should be done daily. The standard maintenance required for both Invisalign and braces is relatively minimal in how much extra work is necessary, which means that you shouldn’t solely select one solution over the other due to the required maintenance.
When looking at the follow-up treatments required for braces, these visits will typically need to take place at least once every month. During these visits, you will have your rubber bands replaced and can sometimes have the wires tightened. These treatments are essential towards ensuring that progress with your braces is on schedule. The follow-up visits for your aligner trays with Invisalign are oftentimes less common, usually occurring sometime between 4-6 weeks apart from one another. However, the aligner trays will need to be replaced every two weeks with a new set of trays, although this can usually be done at home. Over the course of treatment with both braces and Invisalign, you may be asked to stop by the office occasionally for some additional maintenance depending on how well or otherwise your treatment is progressing.
Treatment Time With Braces and Invisalign
One of the main factors that can play a part in whether you select braces or Invisalign as your teeth straightening solution of choice is how much treatment time will be necessary to get your teeth straightened. First of all, you should be aware of the fact that treatment time with these solutions is largely dictated on how extensive the orthodontic issue is, whether you are suffering from gaps in teeth or an overbite. Braces are designed to move your teeth quicker but are also usually meant to be used on people with a substantial orthodontic issue, which means that your treatment could still last for quite some time.
For braces, it’s estimated that the average amount of time that a patient wears them is around two years on a 24/7 basis. As for Invisalign, this solution will usually need to be worn for a period of 6-18 months with a six-month treatment only being available for situations where the necessary movements are minimal. During this time, make sure to wear the aligners for 22-24 hours every day as doing otherwise will lead to the treatment lasting longer. In order to best determine how much time you will need to wear braces or Invisalign, make sure to speak with your orthodontist. They will be able to ascertain the extent of your orthodontic issue, which will allow them to then identify how long the treatment will last.
Before you opt to use braces or Invisalign, one facet of the treatment that many people overlook is the fact that additional treatment will oftentimes be necessary once the brackets or aligners have been removed. The main reason for this additional treatment is because your teeth have been forcefully moved to a new location. While the teeth are in their new location, you can’t visibly see the fact that the bones and tissue surrounding your teeth still need time to adjust and reorganize around the new positions of your teeth. By making use of additional treatment, you will be able to avoid having these teeth move back, allowing you to maintain your perfect smile.
The follow-up treatments for braces and Invisalign are largely the same, as you will likely be required to wear a retainer for a period of time until your bite has been able to stabilize. This period of time can be anywhere from six months to more than a year with the first month being the most important when it comes to keeping your teeth in their new positions. It’s possible that the retainer will be removable and can be worn only at night, although this is usually only the case after the first month or two. Some retainers are glued to the backs of your teeth and can remain their permanently. Your orthodontist will be able to assist you in identifying the length of time that you will be required to wear these retainers.
Can Braces and Invisalign Be Worn By Everyone
While most people can choose to wear both braces and Invisalign, there are certain situations where one solution might be preferable over the other. If you play a large amount of contact sports like football and soccer, braces could be an issue for you due to the fact that hits on the mouth or face could cause the metal on the brackets to damage the inside of your mouth, which is something that likely won’t come up when wearing aligners.
If you are considering aligners, this treatment may not be ideal for you if you are suffering from back tooth bite issues, want to move your teeth vertically, have some bridgework in your mouth, or require the rotation of either canines or molars. It’s also important that you have the necessary discipline to keep the aligners in your mouth for at least 22 hours every day.
Alignment Problems That Can Be Treated by Invisalign and Braces
Both braces and aligners can treat a wide variety of orthodontic issues that you could be suffering from. For instance, an underbite is an issue that occurs when your upper jaw hasn’t grown enough or your lower jaw has displayed too much growth. In these cases, your lower teeth will protrude outwards past your upper teeth. This particular problem can also cause the development of issues within the jaw if left untreated. A similar issue is the occurrence of an overbite, which is a common orthodontic problem that is displayed by the upper teeth being positioned over the lower teeth. This issue can result in additional problems like chipped teeth and tooth fractures. If you don’t have your overbite corrected in a timely manner, it could eventually lead to gum disease.
Your teeth might also be overly crowded or be spaced improperly. For crowding problems, your jaw is too small for the amount of teeth in your mouth. The crowding issue will invariably worsen over time, potentially causing additional pain in the future. Improper spacing in your teeth is a type of problem that occurs when your jaw is still growing when it no longer needs to be. Large spaces will develop in your teeth and could eventually lead to missing teeth. Another common problem that can be treated by both braces and Invisalign is that of a crossbite, which occurs when your upper jaw and lower jaw are both suffering from misalignment issues. Over time, your teeth will begin to wear down and one or two may eventually fall out.
If you want a straight and beautiful smile, braces and Invisalign have their distinct advantages. Here at Boston Dental, we will be able to help you determine which of the two treatment options is best for your specific case, so schedule your first appointment today.
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